Scientists working at the Institut Laue-Langevin, one of the world's leading centres for neutron science, have carried out the first investigation of two-dimensional fermion liquids using neutron scattering, and discovered a new type of very short wave-length density wave. The team believe their discovery, published in Nature, will interest researchers looking at electronic systems, since high temperature superconductivity could result from this type of density fluctuations.
Fermi liquids are composed of strongly interacting fermion particles, a group that includes quarks, electrons, protons and neutrons. They are common in nature, found in atomic nuclei, metals, semiconductors, and neutron stars.
They are also one of two types of quantum liquid used to model and explain the complex interplay between atoms or even sub-atomic particles that is governed by quantum mechanics in a field known as 'many-body physics'.
Fermion particles are defined by their adherence to the Pauli Exclusion Principle that states that no two identical fermions can exist in the same energetic state, making fermion systems particularly complicated. As a result, whilst the other types of quantum liquid, composed of bosons like gluons and photons, are well understood in terms of their underlying physics, fermion liquids remain more mysterious.
As part of this on-going investigation a team of researchers from the Institut Néel (Centre national de la recherche scientifique and Université J. Fourier) in France and Aalto University in Finland (Microkelvin Collaboration), Oak Ridge National Laboratory and SUNY University at Buffalo in the US, Johannes Kepler University in Austria carried out the first direct investigation of these very short wave-length elementary excitations in a fermion liquid by inelastic neutron scattering. In their study, the neutrons were focused on a one atom thick layer of helium-3, a much rarer version of helium on Earth than helium-4 that is used in balloons and airships, which acts like a Fermi liquid at temperatures close to absolute zero.
Using this scattering technique the scientists were able to observe high frequency, very short wave-length density waves known as zero-sound oscillations. The results from the scattering experiments revealed the zero sound modes to be far longer lived in this two-dimensional fluid than those seen during previous experiments at the ILL in bulk liquids, where they were strongly damped.
The discovery of these oscillations in a fermion helium liquid is particularly interesting as it's thought that if this type of high frequency density oscillation is seen in another fermion liquid, composed of electrons, this could be a mechanism for high temperature superconductivity. Once the team have completed their investigation of the properties of the helium system, their next step is to extend this understanding to electron liquids.
Dr. Henri Godfrin, Director of research at CNRS, based at the Institut Néel, a leading laboratory for fundamental research in condensed matter physics:
"People working with electron systems will be very interested to see if this property exists in their own systems and this finding suggests it is entirely possible. This is an important discovery in the field of quantum fluids, which has direct consequences in other areas of many-body physics, particularly in understanding the makeup of metals and the physics behind neutron stars."Contact
2. The European Microkelvin Collaboration - MICROKELVIN - is an EU-funded Integrating Activity project carried out in the FP7 Capacities Specific Programme "Research Infrastructures". It is a bottom-up approach of 12 partners to provide access to and develop applications of ultra-low temperature regime.
James Romero | EurekAlert!
Tangled magnetic fields power cosmic particle accelerators
14.12.2018 | DOE/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
In search of missing worlds, Hubble finds a fast evaporating exoplanet
14.12.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy